“Learn to flow with life like a stream. Change is the only constant in our world, everything and everyone is in always in a constant state of change. Learn to flow with life, relax and enjoy the ride. Remember, Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream…”–Kemmy Nola
I realize I talk about not giving into fear a lot. Some of you may have been wondering, but how?
When we encourage people to not give in to fear, we are talking about what some people refer to as “spiritual warfare.” This is not an earthly war that can be fought with conventional weapons such as guns and bombs. This is a great spiritual conflict which has been ongoing throughout time and as such our “weapons” must be spiritual ones.
So how do we “fight” fear without being overcome by it? There are very practical, specific tools we can use to put fear in it’s place and walk in the light of God.
Let’s begin with the breath. Bringing conscious awareness to the breath is one way to help the mind and body calm down. I know to some of you this may seem just too simplistic. Have you every tried reminding yourself to breathe when upset, fearful or angry?
There are a variety of breathing techniques available, but let’s begin with simply noticing the breath.
Breathe in slowly through your nose, feeling your belly rise as you inhale. Exhale, feeling your belly slowly fall. You may place your hands on your belly to feel it rise and fall if this is helpful for you. Continue breathing, paying attention to your breath as it goes in and out of your body. If you are upset and breathing rapidly or heavily it may take some time to slow things down.
This is something I have used while waiting for Bob to come out of doctor appointments or surgery. I am slowly getting to the point that if I feel myself becoming stressed, or my breathing starts speeding up and becoming shallow, I can simply say to myself “breathe” and watch everything start to slow down. This is one of those “simple disciplines” that is worth developing so it will be available when you need it. Paying attention to the breath is the beginning of meditation which we will discuss at another time, but just a few minutes of taking the time to stop and intentionally notice the breath will help calm things down when you are upset or fearful.
There is a popular saying, “Life’s a journey, not a destination.” That is correct, it is a journey. But sometimes it seems the journey is all about struggle and hardship. We work so hard at this thing we call life, accomplishing, achieving, acquiring and conquering. We have a dream we believe must be realized at all costs.
We forget that we are supposed to enjoy the trip. So how do we remember, and how do we enjoy the trip?
Value experiences. The simple things like watching the sunrise, swimming in the ocean or walking the dog have lessons and joy waiting for us.
Unplug once in awhile. Put away the devices and get involved in the “real world”.
Take an actual vacation. Don’t take your work with you or spend all your time texting people at home.
Have fun. Smile, laugh, play, sing, color, tell a joke, whatever is fun for you. If you need help with this talk to a child.
There is nothing wrong with having dreams and goals. Just don’t let them consume you. Life’s a journey. Enjoy the trip.
There is a life-affirming spark within you which constantly nudges you towards saying yes to life. Create your “yes” list; a list of all the things you want to say “yes” to, and be prepared to be amazed.